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COVID-19 outbreak did not impact Bylands retail garden centre

Low risk from outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak at West Kelowna's Bylands Nurseries is not believed to have impacted the Bylands Garden Centre near Byland and Bartley roads.

On Tuesday, Interior Health announced an outbreak of the virus had been discovered amongst a group of temporary foreign workers who were working for the nursery. The case is the first large community outbreak of the virus in B.C., and it's believed the workers contracted the virus while in Canada. Fourteen workers have tested positive for the disease, while a total of 75 employees are now self isolating after the discovery.

It's unclear when the workers arrived in Canada, but Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said it was in early March, before any travel restrictions had been put in place.

Maria Byland, owner of both Bylands Nurseries and the Bylands Garden Centre, says the outbreak is contained to workers at Bylands Nurseries, and not at the Garden Centre.

“None of the workers were in roles that interact with customers and members of this group had very minimal contact in the community,” Maria Byland said in a statement.

Temporary foreign workers have been required to self isolate for 14 days upon their arrival to Canada and Interior Health says the risk of exposure to the general public in this case is low.

While the Interior Health investigation into the outbreak does not include the Garden Centre, the company has voluntarily shut it down as a precaution.

As a result, West Kelowna Mayor Gord Milsom is pausing the city's tree delivery program, that sourced trees from Bylands. Those who've purchased trees can find more information by emailing [email protected]

“We’re keeping our staff and community informed based on the updates from the BC Ministry of Health, particularly with today’s update being so close to home,” Milsom said in a statement. “We’ll also continue to support Bylands in West Kelowna and we know they are taking the necessary measures in collaboration with the Interior Health Authority during these challenging times.”

Maria Byland says it's been a difficult time.

“As a family-owned and operated business, we feel a strong connection to our community, staff, suppliers and customers we proudly serve and are working to ensure the health and safety of all those involved,” Byland said “We thank you all for your support during this time, which is very difficult for all members of the community.”



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